Eye-catching win: Vicente Luque scores big stoppage after leaving Niko Price with NASTY swollen eye at UFC 249 (VIDEO)
The welterweight battle between Vicente Luque and Niko Price was marked out by many as a potential Fight of the Night candidate at UFC 249 and it didn't disappoint, though it left one of the combatants with a horrific-looking eye.
Luque and Price traded back and forth through almost the entire three-round duration in a thrilling matchup on the preliminary card in Jacksonville, Florida.Also on rt.com Trump is watching: Dana White says US President Donald Trump is keeping tabs on UFC 249 ahead of fight night (VIDEO)
But while Price was going hell for leather, throwing powerful shots, it was Luque's more technical striking that proved the more effective as he rocked, then dropped "the Hybrid" in the first two rounds.
However, Price kept on coming back and, after a strong start to the final round, it looked like the American might push the Brazilian all the way to the scorecards, until Luque fired back.
A huge left hook dropped Price hard mid-way through the round and the pair briefly went to the mat. But Luque eventually decided his best shot at scoring a finish was to stand back up.
He was right, but the finish wasn't quite as he might have imagined.
Instead of moving in and scoring the knockout finish he likely felt was on the cards, referee Jason Herzog checked on Price's badly swollen eye and, after the doctor came into the cage to check over the fighter, Herzog waved off the fight to give Luque the win.
Despite suffering the pain of defeat, and the obvious discomfort of a nasty-looking swollen eye, which was virtually closed, Price was still upbeat after the fight as he gurned and mean-mugged for the cameras before the official verdict was read.
He then told Luque he was the "greatest opponent of my career," before wishing him well and leaving the cage.Also on rt.com UFC 249 LIVE: Follow the action with RT Sport's rolling updates as the UFC returns to action in Jacksonville (VIDEO)